HThe fact that millions of dollars are raining down in election financing in Nigeria is an indicator that a lot is wrong in this country. In a country where the majority of lower class citizens struggle for three meals a day, and the few upper class citizens spend millions of naira, this is a problem.
When one of the political parties, the APC, announced their interest and candidacy fees, many of us came out to say that it was too outrageous and that it could encourage looting. Some detractors pointed out that the application fee was to scare away some aspirants and that they would be reviewed.
In one of my posts posted on my Facebook page penultimate week, exactly April 20, I analyzed how much it might cost to win a presidential election in Nigeria in 2023. I applied only after having bought the presidential form for example in the APC with an exorbitant sum of 100 million naira, such an aspirant will have to budget at least 200,000 naira to woo each delegate whose number of around 7,800 across the country will cost more than 1 560 trillion naira.
The aspirant will also have to settle the traditional rulers, who have become political puppets and are considered to have strong electoral influence, with at least 5 million naira each.
Although the total number of traditional leaders in Nigeria cannot be determined, it is said that there are over 250 ethnic groups and the least of these ethnic groups has no less than 10 great traditional leaders.
In a bid to win the primaries and general elections as well, aspiring politicians will have to settle party excos in every state down to local government and ward level, which could cost around N400 million across the 36 states. Thereafter, they will also customize campaign materials of around N250 million to be shared during campaign outings in each of the 36 states. They will fly jets to take part in campaigns in every state and each campaign outing can gobble up around 50 million naira.
After my few analyses, I asked a question that provoked reactions. The question says, “how can we expect these people to behave after emptying their bank accounts to win an election?”
While reacting, many commentators estimated that for anyone to win an election in Nigeria, he/she could spend close to N17 billion. Many feared that the fees would further encourage looting, abandoning the so-called fight against corruption.
The election in Nigeria has been reduced to a game of chance. Who would have imagined this in a country where universities have been closed for months, where there is an epileptic power supply, where many rural settlers have been laid off from their communities, where health workers from time to time launch into protest actions?
If we are to fight crimes like kidnapping, banditry, rape, and other social vices as a nation, we need to revisit so many things, including how politicians spend extravagantly during election campaigns.
Jiya Peter Idowu writes from Ilorin Kwara State